Mabalingwe Game Reserve, Limpopo, South Africa

Can you believe that half of 2019 is already over. Its around this time that people start planning their December holidays. If you’re looking to plan an easy and secluded getaway for December, this may be just the place.

Located 38 kms west of Bela Bela, in the Limpopo province of South Africa, Mabalingwe offers about 12,000 hectares to discover, filled with mountain top houses, rivers, wildlife and 4x4 trails. It is in an easily accessible, malaria-free area of the Transvaal bushveld and would take you around an hour-and-a-half drive from Johannesburg.

Upon booking to set foot out of the city, all we wanted was an escape that offered an experience and some much needed time away from the metropolitan life. The views and greenery certainly catered to these needs and extend for miles, the lush bushes and mountainous flora are definitely worth witnessing.

The Game Reserve

The Game Reserve itself is massive, separated by an east and west wing. We would see at least two dozen of deer and impala daily and on a rare occasion spot some exotic wildlife. Driving our own vehicle through the game reserve was fruitful and an experience too. We managed to sneak a peak of some giraffe, Wildebeest and impala as well as a family of hippo in the dam.

While on a game drive through the reserve we stopped at a few tiny bars that offered drinks, snacks and a toilet break. The local refreshers help immensely when you are trying to keep going under the hot South African Sun. Let’s say we took full advantage of the R&R (Rum and Raspberry) on offer.

Our game drive was a night drive, which departed just as the sun set at 7pm and ended at 10pm. In the two hour-drive we managed to see Rhinos and a bunch of rare insects species not often spotted in the city. We were told that there are supposed to be leopards in this game reserve however, there hasn’t been a spotting for a couple of years now.


The best view I think I have seen in a long while, was right from our balcony. We had a six-sleeper house that was located at the highest part of the mountains in the area. The drive up the mountain to our cabin was adventurous in itself. We crossed bridges and rivers, which sometime overflowed making the experience ten times more exhilarating.

The house itself was cosy and quite spacious. An attic with two single beds, a master with a double bed and en-suite and another room with a double bed. The service, maintenance and house keeping was lovely and very friendly. The houses also come with a veranda and braai area overlooking the vast game reserve which is hard to see the end of.

Down the way, there was a little restaurant and bakery as well as a curio shop and family entertainment centre. The drive wasn’t too far out and the essentials were relatively close by.

Mabalingwe is great for families and large groups. The game reserve is easy to navigate and offers several activities as well as a lot to see and ample areas to kick back and relax.

I am glad we experienced the reserve and had a mini-getaway. It was a wonderful stay and hopefully we will return one day.

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